The Border at the Center

Immigration policy today has been largely driven by the border with Mexico. Nativism and xenophobia are both the causes and the results of attempts to seal off that border from movement that has been naturally occurring for longer than anyone knows. When we hear American politicians and white citizens complain about the dangers of immigrants and of illegal immigration, they are not talking about the airports or overstayed student visas or even the border with Canada. They mean the border with Mexico and they mean people of color. That very specific type of xenophobia is not new and has definite origins, all rooted in Texas. In matters regarding U.S. immigration policy, all roads lead to El Paso, Texas.

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A Brief Jeremiad

“The world is a vampireSent to drainSecret destroyersHold you up to the flamesAnd what do I getFor my pain?Betrayed desiresAnd a piece of the game.” “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cageDespite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cageThen someone will say, “What is … Continue reading “A Brief Jeremiad”

California dips its big fat white toe into the nativist pool

            This is why history is so fascinating to me. The connections between people, events, or places is often surprising. When I first started looking at the men who patrolled the border with Mexico before the Border Patrol, I had no idea that the story would begin in earnest in California, more than 500 miles … Continue reading “California dips its big fat white toe into the nativist pool”

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

                So why all the hullabaloo about wanting the southern borderlands and much of the West anyway? Didn’t the U.S. already have enough land for everyone to become the yeoman farmer of Thomas Jefferson’s dreams? Probably, but as far-fetched as it may sound, the land owned by the United States and “acquired” from Native Americans … Continue reading “The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo”

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